is common and familiar across south-eastern Australia
Superb Fairy-wren is common and familiar across south-eastern Australia © Michael Bink

Australian Animals

Do Fairy-wrens Cheat?

Are wrens raunchy?

Fairy-wrens were once assumed to form monogamous pairs to raise a family. While male and female pairs do form close social bonds to raise ‘their’ chicks, recent DNA research shows that the majority of chicks raised are actually not the offspring of the apparent ‘father’ raising them! We now know that fairy-wrens are in fact highly sexually promiscuous.

male in breeding plumage
Splendid Fairy-wren male in breeding plumage © Nathan Dobbie
male superb in breeding plumage
Splendid-fairy Wren male superb in breeding plumage © Nikki Oughton
in non-breeding plumage
Male Superb Fairy-wren in non-breeding plumage © Always Joy, Shutterstock
in breeding plumage
Male Superb Fairy-wren in breeding plumage © Linda Oliver
lives in eastern Australia
Variegated Fairy-wren lives in eastern Australia © Esther Bradshaw

Different subspecies of the Variegated Fairy-wren can be found across Australia including in the Great Sandy Desert, home to the Martu people and the great conservation work they do to manage their country for the preservation of their culture and protection of their wildlife.